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Bert's last curtain-call as hundreds pay tribute at TV legend's state funeral

Culture

Hundreds of mourners have paid tribute to entertainment legend Bert Newton at his state funeral in Melbourne.

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The man affectionately known as “Moonface” died aged 83 on November 30 after his leg was amputated in May due to a life-threatening infection.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews paid tribute, saying Newton was someone Australians all felt they knew.

“Like a fire place on a cold night, families would gather around their TV sets, drawn in by Bert’s warmth and sustained by his inviting ease,” he said.

“While he was first beamed into our homes in black and white, Bert was colour TV long before the technology arrived.”

Andrews told those gathered they could be certain the entertainer’s credits would “roll on and on and on”.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison attended the mass – broadcast live on Nine, Seven and Ten – as did Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese.

Molly Meldrum and Daryl Somers were among dozens of TV and radio personalities at the service as well as Glenn Robbins, Andy Lee, Peter Hitchener, Sam Newman and Denis Walter.

Bert Newton’s children, Lauren and Matthew, had written messages for the service. Matthew is in the United States and could not attend in person.

Eddie McGuire described the entertainer’s upbringing in the 1950s, having lost his father at 11.

“Seventy years ago, could that young boy have dreamt of what was in front of him?” he said.

Melbourne-born Newton started in radio aged 12 and scaled the heights of the Australian entertainment industry on stage and on screen.

Alongside Graham Kennedy and Don Lane, he was part of a trio known as The Kings of Australian Television.

A stalwart of Australian theatre, Newton performed in Beauty and the Beast, The Sound of Music, Annie, The Rocky Horror Show, Grease and Wicked.

Newton is survived by Patti, his wife of more than 46 years, his children and grandchildren.

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